Technical question about salts for bacon

Discussion in 'Smoking Bacon' started by rob sicc, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Hi All,

    I have received very details explanations about Cure #1 and Cure #2 and Tender Quick.  After all that I went to make bacon the other day and realized that I didn't have any of these products in my house.  All I had were 2 5+ pound pieces of pork belly and no idea when I would be able to pick up Tender quick.  I've never seen TQ in my area so I had planned to order it on line but it never happened.

    So here is my question.  Can I cure it with equal Sea salt and brown sugar??  Will that work or am I fixin to kill people with this batch?

    I know I can cure lox this way and in a pinch, rather then letting the pork go bad I thought of this.  Thinking better now,  I'm sure I could have found a good recipe for pork bely.  I just didn't want 11 pounds for dinner.  Also the method of curing I use involves cure in zip lock for about 7 days.  Then rice and dry in fridge for 3 days,  then finally  low cook at the end until I get an IT of 150F.

    Can someone please tell me If I 11 pounds of unsafe garbage in my fridge?  It will hurt because my butcher really cut me 2 nice pieces.

    Thanks for taking the time to read
     
  2. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would put it in the freezer until you get cure #1( for a wet brine ) or TQ ( for a dry cure ).

    I never heard about the rice part?
     
  3. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    ROFL.  the reason that you've never heard of the rice method is because I can't type.  I meant to type rinse off the pork then dry for 3 days.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  4. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    :yeahthat:
     
  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Rob, what you plan is safe because the hygroscopic nature of sugar and salt. The moisture is basically sucked up and unavailable for bacterial growth. A sugar/salt cure will give you some similar to Cured Bacon but the will be very little if any pink color change in the meat. The flavor will be similar but not a Hammy as cured. Let the salt/sugar do its thing then rinse, taste test, soaking as needed, then add a tasty Rub and Hot Smoke at 225°F to your desired IT. I have done this a few times. Any left overs should be frozen as this stuff only has about a 2 week shelf life in the refer...JJ
     
  6. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How much salt and sugar per lb?
     
  7. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Order some cure #1 while the belly is in the freezer.... then cure it properly once you get the cure #1..... My suggestion is using Pops cure/brine recipe for your first batch.... It's fool proof and makes great bacon.... Then I would cold smoke it for 4-12 hours...

    ... click on link for cure #1....
    http://www.meatprocessingproducts.com/11000.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2014
  8. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Here is the recipe I used before I started adding Cure #1...JJ

    Sweet and Savory Bacon

    5Lb Skinless Belly

    10oz Fine Sea Salt. (1C)

    3.5oz White Sugar (1/2C)

    Mix salt and sugar and rub belly. Place all in a zip-top bag, refrigerate and let rest 3 days. Turn, massage and drain any liquid daily.

     On 4th day, rinse and dry belly. Run a Fry Test for saltiness and soak in fresh water accordingly to adjust salt level. Dry belly again and apply Sweet and Savory Rub.

    Sweet and Savory Rub

    4oz Dark Brown Sugar (1/2C packed)

    2T Smoked or Hungarian Paprika

    1T Granulated Garlic

    1T Granulated Onion

    1tsp Black Pepper

    1tsp White Pepper

    1tsp Ground Allspice

    1tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)

    Mix ingredients and rub belly. Place all in a zip-top bag, refrigerate and let rest 4 days. Turn, massage and drain any liquid, should not be too much, maybe a Tablespoon or so, daily.

    On day 5, rinse and dry belly, you can rub with Cracked Black Pepper here if you like that flavor. At this point the Bacon can be sliced and frozen or smoked in progressively hotter smoke. If smoking, place the Bacon in front of a fan for 1 hour to form a pellicle. Start smoking, I like Apple or Hickory, at 150°F. After 1 hour raise the smoker temp to 180°F and smoke an additional hour. Lastly, raise to a smoker temp of 225°F. Smoke until the IT of the Bacon reaches 150°F or as desired. Allow your Smoked Bacon to rest a day or so for the smoke harshness to mellow. Slice the Bacon and cook or freeze. Because of the High Sugar, this Bacon can burn easily. Fry over Medium/Low heat to your desired doneness.

    UPDATE: It should be noted that " Draining the liquid " only applies to " Salt Only Curing." 

    Since no Cure is being used there is a tiny risk of Clostridium Botulium Spores surviving the curing process. The hot smoking at 225°F and subsequent cooking will totally eliminate any safety issues with not using Cure #1.

    This was how I made Bacon without cure several times. Its pretty tasty stuff. My oldest Daughter took a bunch to school at the CIA and gave it away as Christmas presents to a couple of Chef in Training friends. They all loved it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  9. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Chef Jimmy,

    Thanks for the reply and advice.  With the instructions above I have only 1 question.  Why do I remove excess liquid?  I've always read to leave the liquid hat develops I the bag.  I don't mean to seam like I am questioning you.  I am just trying to understand.  

    Also , I don't mind if the color is ff.  I just really don't want to waste 11 pounds of pork belly lol

    Thanks again for everyone's help
     
  10. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have heard both leave it and drain it. Draining the juices reduces the overall moisture content of the meat giving more of a firm bacon with a concentrated flavor. Leaving the moisture in the bag is essentially brining the belly. Both are good and it is your choice. I have seen the same technique used with Salmon to make Gravlox. The result is firm...JJ

    UPDATE: It should be noted that " Draining the liquid " only applies to " Salt Only Curing. "
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  11. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Thank you for your reply Chef Jimmy.  I thought since I use the same cure for LOX It might be ok for Bacon as long as I do the initial smoke and get the IT up to 150.

    Thanks again everyone.
     
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    You want the IT to 150° but just to rule out the remote possibility of Spores, it needs to spend at least 15 minutes in a 225° environment...JJ
     
  13. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As for leaving the curing juice in or not:

    When Dry Curing, you weigh the meat & measure the amount of cure needed.

    The juice that forms in the bag contains the cure & salt & sugar that has turned into a liquid and mixed with the meat juices. The cure can't flow through the meat as a dry salt-like granule----It has to be in liquid form. Once it turns to liquid, it would be defeating the whole process to dump it out before it's done doing it's job. It needs to be liquid to get to the center of the meat.

    Never pour it out until the curing process is completed!!! If you dump it out, you'll be dumping out cure that was measured to be the right amount to cure the meat.

    This could be different when making "uncured Bacon" but never drain the juice from curing Bacon. I never made uncured Bacon.

    Bear
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014
  14. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Does anyone think it's to late to add the cure?

    It so I'm afraid it will be to salty.  Anyone have an opinion?  I am so angry that I messed this up.  AHHHH
     
  15. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member



    Where us the bacon at now....What steps have you done to it... this thread is so disjointed I can't tell where you are at in this process.... Have you ordered cure #1...
     
  16. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    The bacon has been in the fridge in a bag with the salt / brown sugar mix for 4 days
     
  17. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I'm assuming there is no added liquid to the zip bag with the belly.....

    If you want to add cure #1 to it now, what I would do......

    Since you have 11 #'s of belly + spices etc... I would add 2 tsp. of cure #1 to 1/4 cup of water... make sure it is dissolved... add it to the zip bag and thoroughly mix, massage etc... mix/massage daily for 8 more days... That should give everything in the bag time to equilibrate... If the skin is on the belly, I would mix/massage for 10-12 days.... then rinse, dry and set back in the refer as you had planned..
    You should be good to go....

    Bacon in a brine... max allowable nitrite is 120 Ppm.. that's why I chose 2 tsp. for 11 + #'s of stuff...
     
  18. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I totally agree with Bear...IF...You are using Cure #1. In the Recipe I gave there is No Cure. Leaving the Belly in contact with that much of a high strength Salt Solution, aka Brine, for the duration of the first process would make for an inedible product. I should have been more clear. I was only refering to MY RECIPE or any recipe with Salt Only (may have some Sugar) such as Gravlox. The high salt content draws moisture, creates a Strong Brine that is in contact for a total of 72 hours. At such a high concentration, some liquid comes out but not all the salt dissolves. Even with removing the liquid there is still a high semi liquid salt solution that continues the process. At this high concentration there is more than enough time to get to the center of the meat in three days. A recipe WITH Cure #1 would use far less Salt and therefore the resulting Weak Brine needs to stay in contact with the meat for the duration of the cure time. In the case of using Cure #1 you need to leave all the Brine in contact for and equilibrium cure. Sorry if I caused too much confusion...JJ
     
  19. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Exactly-----I agree entirely------I was referring to Cure #1 and Tender Quick (No draining of juices).

    I never made Bacon without cure, but what you say makes Great sense about getting too salty without draining the liquid without cure in it.

    Thanks for the clarification.[​IMG]

    Bear
     
  20. rob sicc

    rob sicc Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    So I wanted to say thank you to Chef Jimmy and DaveOmak.

    I had 11 pounds of Pork belly in the form of 2 5 1/2 pound pieces.  I finished one this weekend in the smoker per Chef JJ's instructions, on the smoker.  As he stated, it did not have that pretty dark pink color but it tasted great.  The smoke taste came through very nicely.  The minute I brought the pork belly in from outside the dog wouldn't not leave the kitchen.  It was pretty funny watching him walk around the kitchen with his snout high in the air looking for something.  I've since sliced it up and put it in the fridge.  Bear (the dog) did get a little treat for his persistence.

    The second piece of belly I added 1 tsp spoon into a 1/4 cup of water and added that to the other bag.  It will site 3-4 more days then I will proceed as I would usually do.

    Thanks again guys.  I was afraid I was going to lose both.  Instead, now I have 4 -5 pounds of awesome bacon in the fridge and 4 or 5 more coming within the week.  I think something is getting covered in bacon next week.  Time for another Fatty!!!  [​IMG]
     

Share This Page